Comparison and Passion
Have you ever sat down to watch The Olympics and thought, “I could run every bit as fast as that Usain Bolt!” Do you flip on an old episode of Julia Child and say, “My boeuf bourguignon is totally as delicious as hers!” As you’re reading “Hop on Pop” to your kids at night, do you think to yourself that Dr. Seuss ain’t got nothin’ on you? Of course not! We look to these people as leaders in their field. We recognize them as experts. They’re doing what they do best. We’d be crazy to compare our skills to theirs in their areas of expertise.
If it seems crazy to us to compare our skills with those of pop icons, why do we insist on doing it with other women? With our friends? Yet, day after day, we allow comparisons to run rampant, heightening our insecurity and building walls between ourselves and our peers.
I have a friend who lives and breathes fitness. Making people sweat and living an active lifestyle is her passion. It’s at the forefront of her mind and she’s found a way to spend her life doing what she loves. I have another friend who is crazy into fashion. She keeps up with all of the trends, has all of the latest accessories and never leaves the house looking like she’s anything but ready for a cover shoot. I am neither an athlete or a trend-setter. I will never be at the level either of these ladies is in her respective field of interest. Does this mean I should stop trying? Should I throw a fit and toss my running shoes aside, despairing that I’ll never run a marathon in under 3 hours so why even try? Should I go ahead and shave my head as I angrily raise my fist shouting, “I’ll never understand how to make my hair look like that!”
Obviously, I’m being silly. But, how many of us hold similar thoughts….all the time. As we talk to our friends and acquaintances, and read through or news feed on Facebook, we take note of what everyone else is doing. We see their accomplishments, their highlights, and forget to take into account their areas of expertise and passions. All we see is our failings. We’ll just never measure up….and that is okay!
It took me a crazy long time to figure that out…and honestly, I’m still learning. But, I’m slowly realizing that we ALL have our unique strengths and areas of expertise. I could easily get caught up in how I stand in comparison with others’ passions, but I’ve learned that’s a rabbit hole I just don’t want to jump down. My accomplishments in certain areas will never compare to others with a passion and level of expertise for those things. When I say, “I went jogging and didn’t die!” or “I’m not wearing a hoodie today!” , it’s a BIG deal! These are wild accomplishments for me in the fields of athleticism and fashion. Are these statements anywhere near the level of achievement of either of my friends? NO! Does that mean my successes don’t matter? Of course not! Should I give up? No way!
Neither should you. Just because someone else is better than you at something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. If we all decided to throw in the towel every time we took note of being less accomplished than someone else, nothing would ever get done! No, you won’t ever run like an Olympian or cook like Julia, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy and relish finishing your first 5k or celebrating the amazing Dutch Baby you made for breakfast. Who cares if you’re #1 or #134 if your pursuits make you happy and/or help others? Your position and status shouldn’t be a factor. Life is not a giant competition. We in our craziness make it one, depleting all of the joy and fun from the activities and creative outlets that should be fueling us. Our accomplishments and achievements weren’t meant to be held up against what other people are doing. Like I said, I’m not an athlete or a fashionista. Will I stop jogging or attempting to look less disheveled? No way. Even in the areas I’m passionate about and possibly considered an expert in by some, I still struggle with comparison. Am I the world’s best blogger? Sadly no. Am I the most influential devotional writer? No again. Should I stop writing because I’m not the Six Sisters or Beth Moore? No! I’m me, and I matter. (You do too!)
Follow your passions. Try and fail. Never quit. No matter what you do don’t hold up your individual accomplishments to those of others. Everyone brings different skills and backgrounds to the table. Each of us is an expert in ways that others are not, as we live our life in pursuits of different hobbies, passions, and skills. Do what makes you happy, regardless of the successes of others. Stop comparing yourself to other people and recognize that what you do matters. You might not be the world’s most organized mom, have a natural knack for crafts, be the best cook, a natural athlete, or the most popular blogger, but you are YOU, and you’ve been given talents and strengths that are unique to you…..and that is pretty darn incredible. Don’t give up. Pursue a variety of things. Relish and celebrate the things that you are passionate about. Dabble in the passions of others. In whatever you do, do it heartily. Embrace the challenges and the victories…..and don’t bother worrying about what everyone else is doing. Stay YOUR course and enjoy the ride.